Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Economist’

How to stop governments borrowing behind their people’s backs

Posted by hkarner - 15. Juni 2019

Date: 13-06-2019
Source: The Economist

Principles on debt transparency endorsed at a G20 summit may help

In 2016 the government of Mozambique confessed to secret debts of $1.4bn, or 11% of gdp, mostly as loan guarantees for state-backed companies. Growth faltered, the currency slumped and foreign donors pulled back. The results have been “devastating”, says Denise Namburete, a civil-society activist, describing health centres that have gone two years without medicines. American prosecutors are pursuing eight people involved in the scandal, including three foreign bankers and a former finance minister, on charges of money-laundering and fraud.

The Mozambique case may be unusual—or not. Even the imf is scratching its head about how much governments truly owe. In some places the mystery is loans from China and other emerging lenders. In others it is advance payments from oil traders, liabilities from public-private partnerships or hidden loans from commercial banks. The Institute of International Finance (iif), a group of banks and financial institutions, has responded to mounting concern by drafting principles on debt transparency. Finance ministers of g20 countries endorsed them at a summit in Fukuoka, in Japan, on June 8th-9th. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Drone deliveries are advancing in health care

Posted by hkarner - 15. Juni 2019

Date: 13-06-2019
Source: The Economist

No longer just in Africa, but in Europe and America too

A few years ago Jeff Bezos made a prediction. By 2018 his e-commerce empire, Amazon, would be delivering items by drone. Prime Air has yet to launch. But startups are making progress—mostly in health care, where they are vying to tap into a lucrative, $70bn global market in health-care logistics. As they deal with regulators and investors, these firms are charting the course for other aerial deliveries.

One of the best known is Zipline, based in San Francisco. It took off in Rwanda in 2016, where it is now a national on-demand medical drone network, delivering 150 medical products, mostly blood and vaccines, to hard-to-reach places. Maternal mortality rates are declining thanks to the delivery of blood. Other firms have used drones to supply medicines in Bhutan, Malawi and Papua New Guinea. Patients in many Swiss hospitals can receive results on the day a sample is taken. Zipline is expanding into Ghana and, later this year, into North Carolina, an American state with many out-of-the-way rural medical facilities. It wants to serve 700m people in the next three to four years. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The ECB presidency is distinct but not immune from backroom deals

Posted by hkarner - 15. Juni 2019

Date: 13-06-2019
Source: The Economist
Subject: Triangulation

Europe works in strange ways

“The longest lunch in history” is how Jonathan Powell, an adviser to Tony Blair, a former British prime minister, has described the appointment of the first head of the European Central Bank (ecb) in 1998. The French, keen to have their man in the job, had convinced the Germans that Wim Duisenberg, a Dutchman, should serve only half of his eight-year term before making way for a Frenchman. Mr Duisenberg resisted, giving in only after midnight.

The choice in 2011 of the third and current president, Mario Draghi, an Italian, involved less drama. Even so, France and Italy fell out after Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, another Italian on the bank’s six-strong executive board, initially refused to give way to a French national. “What can I do? Shall I kill him?” Silvio Berlusconi, then Italy’s prime minister, asked Nicolas Sarkozy when his French counterpart complained.

Mr Draghi departs in October. What tales will be told of his successor’s selection? The scope for theatrics is greater than ever. The choice is always political: national leaders make nominations and eventually agree on a name. But Mr Draghi’s term ends in the wake of European elections, as they are also deciding other top jobs. At a summit on June 20th-21st the European Council of leaders aspires to pull off a package deal covering the key roles. Succeed or no, the next few months will be a test of whether the process for choosing the next ecb leader has become any more sensible. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The question is not who will lead the Conservative Party, but whether it will survive

Posted by hkarner - 14. Juni 2019

Date: 13-06-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

Brexit could prove to be an extinction event for the party that has dominated British politics for much of the past century-and-a-half

There are few things that Britain’s Conservatives relish more than a leadership election. For candidates, it is a chance to talk about their favourite subject—themselves. For mps and party members, it is an opportunity to trade their votes for favours or flattery. But the brighter Tories recognise that this is a leadership election with a difference: this time they are dancing on the edge of a volcano. The natural party of government for much of the past century-and-a-half could face catastrophe, in the form of an internal split or a wipeout in the next election.

The party’s recent electoral performance has been disastrous. It saw its vote-share crumble to 9% in the European election last month and then came third in the Peterborough by-election. It is polling below 20%. Any honeymoon the next party leader enjoys is sure to be brief, for the Conservatives run a minority government that is trying to push through a complicated and controversial divorce bill in the face of profound divisions in their own ranks, not to mention the country, and mounting impatience in Brussels. The next prime minister could face a vote of no confidence within a month and a general election within a year. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tory candidates are misleading people about a no-deal Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 14. Juni 2019

Date: 13-06-2019
Source: The Economist

Hardliners say it would be fine, moderates say it could be stopped. Both may be in for a nasty surprise

Fully ten leadership candidates faced a first ballot of Conservative mps as we went to press. In hopes of being one of the final two to go through to a vote by party members, they are vying to promise the most extravagant tax and spending plans. But the immediate challenge for the winner, who will take office in late July, will be Brexit, which is due to happen three months later. And here the promises vary from instant renegotiation of Britain’s exit deal to withdrawing with no deal at all.

The timing is tight. Parliament is likely to go into recess just after the new prime minister is installed, and the European Union will go on holiday. mps come back in September, but for less than two weeks before their party conferences. Brussels will be preoccupied with getting a new commission approved by the European Parliament by November 1st. A summit of eu leaders on October 17th-18th will come just a fortnight before the Brexit deadline. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The technology industry is rife with bottlenecks

Posted by hkarner - 9. Juni 2019

Date: 07-06-2019
Source: The Economist

The US-China tech cold war is making companies more aware of them than ever

Japan had long since lost its lead in electronics. Or so many thought. When an earthquake and tsunami hit the country in 2011, its continued centrality to the industry quickly became apparent. Copper foils for printed circuit boards, silicon wafers to make chips, resin to package them—for many components Japan was the home of the biggest, sometimes only, supplier. As production ground to a halt, customers scrambled to find alternatives. Many had to limit their output, like carmakers reliant on Renesas Electronics, a leading maker of engine-controlling chips whose wafer-fabrication plant sustained heavy damage.

Natural disasters—whether cataclysmic like the Japanese earthquake or merely destructive like floods or wildfires—regularly test the electronics supply chain. Now a geopolitical shock from President Donald Trump’s efforts to isolate China has thrown the industry’s structure into sharp relief—and exposed its choke points (see table).
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Taiwan’s computing titans are caught up in the US-China tech war

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juni 2019

Date: 07-06-2019
Source: The Economist

They would rather remain in the shadows

In the shadow of Taipei 101, the Taiwanese capital’s tallest skyscraper, 42,000 people attended Computex, one of the world’s biggest electronics trade expos, which concluded on June 1st. They bought, sold and ogled every electronic component imaginable. Neon-pulsating fans. Computer casings in every imaginable shade of beige. Infinite varieties of fibre-optic cables. And, of course, chips. If silicon had a smell, Computex would be oozing it.

The massive exhibition space is in fact a sideshow. The real action takes place high above, in the hotel suites of central Taipei. The world’s technology firms book them, then fly in for meetings with the Taiwanese companies that are the beating heart of the global electronics supply chain. Taiwan is, in effect, Computex writ large.

The largest Taiwanese tech companies are contract manufacturers, which make products for other firms rather than sell them directly to consumers. The combined sales of the 19 biggest last year totalled $394bn. They co-ordinate the fiendish logistics of getting hundreds of parts sourced from Asia and beyond to arrive in the right place at the right time, in order to keep their assembly plants, many located in China, humming. Largan, Pegatron, Quanta and tsmc are not household names. Their customers—Huawei, Apple, Amazon—are. But the global tech value chains atop which these illustrious firms sit would break without their Taiwanese links. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Once again, China’s richest region is pulling ahead of the others

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juni 2019

Date: 06-06-2019
Source: The Economist

The interior had been catching up with the southern coast. No longer

Motivational slogans do not get much blunter than the one hanging over the sewing machines in Li Zhiguo’s factory: “Work hard here to make money, don’t be disliked by your family”. He proudly holds up one of his products, a red chiffon dress with ruffled sleeves. Dozens more are wrapped up, awaiting shipment.

It is a scene that, on the surface, should please Chinese leaders. Mr Li’s factory is in Baiguan, a poor town in the central province of Hunan. The government has long wanted to spur growth deep inside the country, in part by getting low-end industries to leave the prosperous coast and move to places like Baiguan. The money, managers and machines in Mr Li’s factory are almost all transplants from the coast. “There’s advantages to being here. It’s easier to find workers,” he says. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Blue-collar capitalists

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juni 2019

Date: 06-06-2019
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

Employee ownership has a lot going for it. But not if it becomes over-politicised

Ida tarbell, the great muckraker of the early 20th century, not only wielded her pen against Standard Oil. She also used it to advocate for better versions of capitalism. In “New Ideals in Business”, a book from 1916, she explained how William Cooper Procter, a pioneering Episcopalian, introduced profit sharing in 1887 and eventually share ownership for workers of Procter & Gamble (p&g), a consumer-goods firm. Lauding the impact on the company’s performance, she recounted the words of one employee: “Do you suppose I’m going to let a new man come in and loaf on his job…? It’s my profits that I’m looking out for now.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The trouble with economics

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juni 2019

Date: 06-06-2019
Source: The Economist

Jonathan Aldred thinks economists are too reductive. Is he right?

Licence to be Bad: How Economics Corrupted Us. By Jonathan Aldred. Allen Lane; 320 pages; £25.

In thomas gradgrind, Charles Dickens created an educator who saw his pupils as “reasoning animals”, with heads that should be filled with facts and little more. In “Licence to be Bad”, Jonathan Aldred, an academic at Cambridge University, casts economists as the modern Gradgrinds. They exercise a baleful influence on political discourse, he maintains, by taking a narrow view of humans as essentially selfish creatures, forever trying to maximise their own well-being.

As Mr Aldred points out, economists have not always thought this way. Adam Smith is a hero of free-market enthusiasts but, as well as “The Wealth of Nations”, he wrote “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, in which he opined: “How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him.” In the 20th century John Maynard Keynes wrote that “economics is essentially a moral science and not a natural science. That is to say, it employs introspection and judgments of value.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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